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Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark

Close up of Densefruit Pittany Root Bark Bai Xian Pi TCM Herb

What is Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark?

Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark (bai xian pi, 白鲜皮), also known as Dittany Bark and Cortex Dictamni, comes from the bush Dictamni Radicis. In China, this plant is produced mainly in the Liaoning, Hebei, Jiangsu, Shanxi and Jilin provinces. The roots of this bush are harvested in Spring and Autumn. After all fibrous material has been removed from the roots and the bark is peeled off, the herb is then cut into slices and dried in the Sun.

Also called the ‘burning bush’, the bush that the Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark comes from produces volatile organic compounds that can combust, which means that skin contact with these blooms can cause photodermatitis, a type of allergic contact dermatitis that is activated by exposure to sunlight.

This plant ranges from 40cm to 100cm in height, and its flowers form a loose, pyramidal spike that varies in colour from pale purple to white. These flowers are grouped in five-petal stems with long projecting stamens, and its leaves resemble those of an ash tree.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark falls under the category of ‘Herbs that clear Heat and dry Dampness’. This herb can help to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, which are referred to as ‘Internal Heat’ in TCM and are usually caused by a Deficiency of Yin or an Excess of Yang. It can also help to relieve the body from excess Dampness.

Cold in nature, Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark helps individuals who have too much Heat in their body to restore a healthy yin-yang balance, especially those who are experiencing a Yin Deficiency or a Yang Excess. Bitter in taste, Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark also has a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. In particular, this herb targets the Spleen, bladder  and the stomach.

Functions and Benefits of Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark has the following health benefits.

Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark can help to clear Heat, dry Dampness, resolve Fire toxicity and expel Wind from the body. For example, this herb can treat sores caused by Damp-Heat or Wind-Heat, such as scabies, Tinea Versicolor, rubella, carbuncles and rashes. These sores are usually characterised by much pus or leaking of a yellow fluid, moist skin and pruritis. 

Also, Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark is often used in conjunction with other herbs to treat jaundice caused by Damp-Heat and painful obstruction in the muscles, tendons and joints.

Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark can also help to stop itching caused by Damp Heat and tackle genital disorders such as vaginal pruritis with discharge, swelling and pain in the genital region.

Modern studies also suggest that Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark can help to relieve cough that is associated with the common cold. It can also aid digestion to relieve bloating and mild digestive problems.

High in antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties, Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark can help to reduce damage caused by free radicals in your body and fight signs of ageing. Also, it can prevent harmful microbes from growing in your body to prevent diseases such as food poisoning.  It is also suggested that this herb has some effectiveness in fighting off Liver cancer cells.

Close up of Densefruit Pittany Root Bark Bai Xian Pi
Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark (白鲜皮, Bai Xian Pi) is effective in relieving skin irritations.

How to Use Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark

The recommended daily dosage of Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark is 6 to 9 grams, if boiled in water as a decoction.

You can find whole, sliced Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark at some Asian markets and specialty stores. Some herbal stores also sell Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark in forms such as powder, extract and pills.

Other than consuming Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark in the above forms, you can use it to make tea too. Simply dissolve a few grams of Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark powder or soak a few grams of the whole, sliced herb in hot water to brew a cup of delicious tea.

For external use, you can boil Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark in water and apply it onto your skin with a washcloth. Alternatively, you can apply it in powder form to the affected area.

Cautions and Side Effects of Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark

Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark should not be used by individuals who are experiencing Qi Deficiency or conditions of Cold.

Also, due to its observed effect on the uterine muscles of certain animals, this herb should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Individuals should watch out for side effects of applying the herb to their skin as well because it can trigger reactions in sensitive individuals.

We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark to your diet, especially if you have poor digestive systems.


Here is a summary for Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 白鲜皮
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): bái xiān pí
  • Herb name (English): Densefruit Pittany Root-Bark
  • Herb name (Botanical): Cortex Dictamni
  • Origin of species: Dictamnus dasycarpus Turcz
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root bark
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Liaoning, Hebei, Sichuan, Jiangsu
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Cold; Administrates the Spleen, Stomach and Bladder Meridians
  • Actions: Helps to relieve skin irritations; Eases pain relating to rheumatoid arthritis

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